Update: In a new post, we lay out the details on the bill's author receiving substantial contributions from the construction and real estate industries.
If SB 1196
passes this session, homebuyers looking at new developments should look much, much harder at their prospective neighborhoods.
The bill seeks to reel in claims regarding the "implied warranty of fitness and merchantability" of newly built homes and would let builders off the hook for any liabilities related to faulty "off-site" facilities -- which means roads, drainage systems, and plumbing.
So if you move into a new home and discover those things are busted, it's you and your
homeowners' association that's paying to fix it, not the guys who skimped on construction in the first place.
The bill looks to be in response to a 2010 Florida court ruling
that stated developers were responsible not only for the fitness of the homes they built but also for "defects in the roadways, drainage systems, retention ponds and underground pipes in a residential subdivision."
The proposed bill says this ruling "goes beyond the fundamental protections that are necessary for a purchaser of a new home," which suggests that homeowners should be protected from a busted roof or septic tank but that there shouldn't be any guarantees the drainage ditch next to their house and the road through their neighborhood will work the way they're supposed to.
The bill says expecting crazy things like functional roads "creates uncertainty in the state's fragile real estate and construction industry."
The bill, introduced by Gulf coast Republican Sen. Mike Bennett
, hasn't received a single "nay" vote in committee. See below for the most recent version.